The Lowdown on Walmart
Aug. 9, 2010 8:05 am
Updated: Aug. 25, 2010 7:26 am
Very interesting responses to my last blog about my month without Walmart. I saw lots of differing opinions, but the majority of the responses echoed my own opinions--Walmart really isn't a great deal after all, and what you save in money you will sacrifice
in quality. I had to giggle at the almost rabid defense of WM from some of the commentors, not because I think you're silly or uneducated or anything of the sort, but because two months ago, I WAS YOU!! Other than the quick rush in for this or that while
Hubs and the kids were waiting int the car, I hadn't stepped foot in a grocery store in more than two years. I was a die-hard Walmartaholic, and here's why:
1.) The convenience of one-stop shopping
2.) PRICE MATCHING
Wow, I just realized that's only two reasons, but they're biggies. I live in the desert; in the raging, hot, sweltering Arizona desert. I have three little boys, and they're all in carseats. It takes approximately ten minutes to get everyone out of the car
and situated to go shopping, which requires not only a shopping cart, but also a double stroller. This is not as much of an ordeal as getting the kids back into the car, which can take twenty minutes including the time it takes to load up the car, put away
the massive double stroller, and get the kids all buckled back in, while the car has been sitting in the 110 degree weather for an hour and a half and is now approximately two hundred degrees inside. It's rough. I thought the one stop shopping thing would
be ideal for us.
PRICE MATCHING: Probably one of Walmart's most deceptive practices, and here's why--Walmart will match the price of any competitor so long as you bring in the ad and prove the prices to them. If you're really lucky, they'll have the ads at their registers
so you don't have to bring them with you, but you still have to be vigilant about knowing where everything is on sale, and for what price. Have fun writing your lists and circling everything in the ad in sharpie so you can prove you're not lying. They will
call you out on EVERY item. This can make for a LONG check out process, and the cashiers as well as the people behind you will grumble. Add some coupons in there, and you'll hear a veritable choir of groans, moans, and nasty comments as you try your best
to save a little money. Here's what WM
won't do: They won't match % off, or BOGO items, so that cuts a hefty portion of the really good sales that they're "matching". Another biggie: Your sale item must be sold by WM in the same format as the Grocery store. What does this mean? If cauliflower
is on sale at the grocery store for $.49/lb, WM will not match this price, because they sell cauliflower by the head, not by the pound. Grocery stores sell their produce primarily by the lb, and WM sells primarily by the quantity--lemons, cantaloupe, oranges--they're
all sold by the item, not by the weight. Cut another huge chunk out of your sales flyers, folks, because you can't have those items, either. I would always hold back my "ad matching" items for the very end of the trip so that I could make sure to get the
correct pricing, but at the end of my trip, it was a very small collection of stuff. The non-perishable items were fine, but obviously no better of a deal than the grocery store. WM also does not double coupons, making them almost more trouble than they're
worth. They also do this on purpose. Oh, and by the way, let's talk about the "low prices". Ever bought a red bell pepper at WM? $2.64 EACH. That's not a seasonal price, either, that's the price all the time. $2.20 for a small head of cauliflower. I'm
not making this stuff up. They may offer low prices on many things, but they'll really stick it to you on others. Those Walmart people aren't dumb, ya' know.
Let me touch a minute on Walmart meats. They look great, no? All packaged up in their glossy, hermetically sealed packaging that couldn't possibly leak because you can hardly get the stuff opened when you want to use it. Yes, WM dyes their meat. It's a
fact. They also seal the packaging to be air-tight so they can keep the meats on the shelf longer. This doesn't give you fresher meat, it gives you OLDER meat. One last thing; I don't know if it's still in practice, but for a long time WM gassed their
meats with carbon monoxide--you know, that stuff that kills you? They liked to spray it all over their meats. It kept them nice and red for an indeterminate amount of time. In fact, I saw some news program that had a package of ground beef which was nice
and red and fresh looking--it had been in the fridge for TWO YEARS, thanks to CO and sealed packaging. Hungry yet? It's amazing what you can find out when you're not closing your eyes and ears to the plethora of information out there.
Now my last blog entry was not disparaging in the least toward Walmart. We all have our preferences, and people can shop wherever the heck they want to, and buy whichever products they like. I can only speak to my own experiences there, and that's all I will
continue to do. I haven't ever had produce go bad as quickly as when I buy it at WM--apples that are mealy, grapes that are soft and wrinkled, strawberries that mold within a day, cantaloupe that tastes like dirt, shriveled blueberries, the list goes on and
on. But I continued to shop there, didn't I, so who's really ultimately at fault? ME!! I
had to shop there because they ad match! I
had to shop there because I can get everything in one trip. Hey, guess what? I stayed away from Walmart for an entire month, and there were only TWO items that I really needed/wanted at the end of the month. It was
much cheaper to buy my Tide on sale at the grocery store than to buy it at WM. It was also much cheaper to by my toilet tissue there, and every other item that I needed during the month. What was I really missing by not shopping at WM? Uh, not a thing, actually.
I didn't miss the rock hard nectarines or the flavorless tomatoes at all!